UV Laser or Light Source
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3D printers use ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting devices, such as stereolithography (SLA) or digital light processing (DLP), as lasers or light sources for resin-based 3D printing. In printing, UV light at specific wavelengths cures or hardens the photosensitive liquid resin, forming a 3D object by solidifying it layer by layer.
- UV laser in SLA printers: SLA printers use UV lasers as their light source. Mirrors and galvanometers are used to direct the laser onto the resin vat surface and trace the cross-sectional pattern of 3D objects layer by layer. A laser’s focused beam precisely cures resin, enabling the creation of intricate and detailed parts. The build platform becomes more stable as the laser cures one layer.
- UV light source in DLP printers: As a method of curing the resin, DLP printers use UV light sources, like LEDs or DLP projectors. It projects the entire cross-sectional image of a 3D object onto the resin surface, curing an entire layer simultaneously. As such, the printer can print more quickly than SLA, but the resolution may be slightly lower, depending on the projector’s specifications. Dental, jewelry, and prototyping applications also use DLP printers for high-detail and smooth surface finishes.
3D printing with resin depends on choosing the right UV light source, adjusting the exposure time, intensity, and wavelength, and controlling the exposure time. These factors also influence the curing process of surface finish and mechanical properties. Users should properly maintain and handle UV light sources for consistent print quality and printer longevity.